The MississaugaWatch Sniff Test

This question is the MISSISSAUGAWATCH Sniff Test for all Ontario municipal Mayors and Councillors:

Do you support asking the Ontario government to extend the investigative authority of the Ontario Ombudsman to include municipalities?

If the answer is not an UNQUALIFIED "Yes!", ask "Why not?" and proceed with extreme caution.


MIRROR: Complete Mississauga Judicial Inquiry Transcripts

MISSISSAUGA Conflict of Interest Judicial Inquiry VIDEO TRANSCRIPT COMPILATION-1: IN THEIR OWN WORDS, Councillors Corbasson, Dale, Carlson, Iannicca

November 6th, 2009  

At the October 28, 2009 Council meeting, despite blistering opposition from the “Our Hazel Can Do No Wrong” crowd, seven City of Mississauga Councillors voted for a judicial inquiry into the inner “murky” workings of the Trust, Quality, Excellence people.

While the traditional media have taken considerable interest of late, the reader/viewer is limited to reporters’ version of events which in some cases are as ghastly and non-researched as what is churned out by the “Our Hazel Can Do No Wrong” crowd.

Again, to repeat, I’ve been filing Freedom of Information on City of Mississauga Corporate Security conduct, operations and adherence to policies. If there are similar WThuh?! open cesspools like I’ve dredged up with $2,100 worth of Freedom of Information, this judicial inquiry was long overdue.

So MISSISSAUGAWATCH will turn today’s Blog over to a compilation of video transcripts of four Councillors as they explained why they voted for a judicial inquiry.

These transcripts appear in the order presented in previous Blogs: Councillor Carmen Corbasson (Ward 1), Councillor Frank Dale (Ward 4), Councillor George Carlson (Ward 11) and Councillor Nando Iannicca (Ward 7).

The reader who knows a thing or two about Mississauga will notice Councillor Carolyn Parrish (Ward 6) is not among these four and not addressed at all so far.  That’s because Councillor Parrish’s October 28, 2009 comments were extensive and will need more time to work up in video as well as provide transcripts.

The next Blog (and possibly a second) will deal exclusively with Councillor Parrish’s October 28, 2009 comments.

As I’ve said in my previous Blogs, all video and transcripts will be submitted to the Mississauga City Clerk for inclusion in the October 28, 2009 minutes because frankly, I do not want Future Mississauga 30-40 years from now to read only the Corporation’s side of the story (aka manicured minutes). (As a historical record it can’t get better than video and the transcript).

Here we go.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS

IN HER OWN WORDS

COUNCILLOR CARMEN CORBASSON:

Thank you Mr. Acting Mayor and I will be brief. Um, let me first say that this isn’t an easy time for any of us around this table just like it’s not an easy time for you. I don’t think we take comfort in any of the decisions we’ve had to make of late. But notwithstanding, we are elected to make some tough decisions and I think that’s the type of comment you’re gonna hear around this table today.

I am not at all overwhelmed by the number of people who showed up, Councillor Prentice. In fact, I’m surprised there wasn’t more.

And I’ll tell you why I’m surprised because we all know Madam Mayor is loved, admired and respected. And I for one moment am not going to take away that from her. For me, she has been a role model in many many ways. We both started here in the City in 1978 and I’ve learned an awful lot from her.

I— my biggest difficulty is, and I hope you can understand and appreciate that when we have in-camera sessions, we are privy to certain comments and information that the general public is not.

For me, the in-camera session on the judicial inquiry opened up more questions than it answered.

I— that Madam Mayor didn’t declare one Conflict of Interest for a 17-minute or a 17-second, whatever it was, I have no problem with that.

I do have a problem that official government documents got changed with no satisfactory explanation.

I do have difficulty that any member of Council, doesn’t matter if it’s Madam Mayor, or me, or anyone else, can have off-site meetings, with a landowner, who has an interest in the City of Mississauga, that is going to financially benefit a member of any one of our families.

That may not be against the Conflict of Interest Act. But in my opinion, I would hope, and it’s my understanding that a judicial inquiry can —and most probably would, depending on their findings —make some very strong recommendations to have either the Conflict of Interest Act or the Municipal Act changed.

That’s simply put, Ladies and Gentlemen, for me —I’m not going to speak, I’ll let the others speak for themselves.

This isn’t about Mayor Hazel McCallion. This is about Governance, how do we improve it. Not only for this municipality, but across the Province. And I don’t know what price tag you put on that. Is it ten thousand? Is it one million? Is it ten million? I don’t know.

But I would like to see this City in particular, and certainly Madam Mayor come out with credibility, integrity and that we all maintain our dignity.

I do thank you for coming out today, Ladies and Gentlemen and I will turn it back to the Acting Mayor.

Video: Councillor Carmen Corbasson  (3:50 min)

(Click here to go directly to the clip on YouTube)

IN HIS OWN WORDS

COUNCILLOR FRANK DALE:

Thank you Mr. Acting Mayor. I certainly just wanted to make a point, that I want to be clear as a member of Council that I always examine the facts that are before me and weigh them in any decisions that I make as the Councillor. And taking into, of course, the consideration, uh, taking into consideration, the best interests of this great city as well as the community in which I represent.

And I stand behind the position that that I took with respect to the inquiry primarily for the same reasons that Councillor Corbasson eloquently described.

And I do want to make it clear that this was not personal to the Mayor. This was just based on the facts that was presented before us and the recommendations that were before us by outside legal counsel —and reviewing that, and examining that, made that decision. And I stand by, and will support the recommendations that are before us today, with respect to the terms of reference.

I want to be clear though that the decision I make, the decision then—the decision I make today is for no one’s political gain.

Jeer from audience

I make this decision because I truly believe it’s the right thing to do.

Video: Councillor Frank Dale (1:58 min)

(Click here to go directly to the clip on YouTube)

IN HIS OWN WORDS

COUNCILLOR GEORGE CARLSON:

Thank you very much Mr. Acting Mayor. I appreciate the opportunity just to say a few words that may be a slightly different tone than some of the other comments made. I think it’s sad in a way that it’s looked as a win-lose here today.

This was a process because we really, as a governing body, find ourselves vexed by the issues we’re reading about here today. And they haven’t just started dogging us yesterday at noon. This has been going on for some years.

And we’ve spent a considerable amount of money trying in our own way to get to the bottom of many of these issues. And in my opinion, I don’t think we’ve been all that successful. And it continues to hang over Council .

And when you read of the divisions on Council, you’re mostly talking about Enersource and the issues associated with OMERS and partnerships. So to me, I’m delighted that the motion is to delete Madam Mayor from that minor Conflict of Interest, which she’s already said she accepts responsibility. That is a nothing-issue as far as this inquiry is concerned

And as far as I’m concerned, Explanation Accepted. Forgotten about. That part is a Big Zero to me.

So because it’s so obvious from the heartfelt response from the folks here today that this appears to be a first-class witch hunt —must be Hallowe’en, we’re too much into the witch stuff, that we need— This helps to de-focus that and gets us on the other issues which I’m afraid the media find a lot less interesting than going after dear old Hazel.

The kind of stuff about governance and ownership and shares puts most people to sleep. I have to agree with you. But, it’s Big Bucks and we have never properly settled that issue. And I don’t know how to do it other than this.

But I think another point of view as well too, the fact that we’re going to a judge, that speaks volumes to me as a Canadian. I love that we have a country where we can go to an impartial judiciary and say look, we’ve played with the damn thing for two years and we’re not lawyers, judges.

And as I said to one resident today, if there was anything going on here, I would not want this group, much as I love them all, to be sitting in judgment of me. This is a non-starter —reat group of people to work with but, this is not a court of law.

So I think sometimes when you’re stuck, you’re stuck and you’ve got to get some help from somebody. And for me, that’s all this is about and the speculation about politics and who’s the Mayor—

I would think, to be honest with you, Carolyn Parrish has lost 20 points in leading this thing because this is not helping her for Mayor at all. And she gettin’ a lot of advice that brought this because for sure this is costing her votes if she ever were to run for Mayor.

So you may get your wish in that she’ll never be elected Mayor but we still have to sort out these problems and that’s why I’m supporting — It has nothing to do with the Mayor. I’ve known her —I’m trying to think when I first met Hazel, I think I was probably three years old or something. I have no interest in any vexatious action against her.

But by golly, I don’t know what else to do. I guess you could hire a consultant —we’ve done all of the consultants. We’ve done, we’ve asked for outside lawyers and asked for —we need someone who can come in and sort out the stuff and say, here’s what you need to do and what/where you went wrong, if we did go wrong. And here’s how you can improve it for the future.

That’s all I’m voting for and if that’s bad, I guess that’s bad but that’s all I can say about it and I appreciate the opportunity, Mr. Chair

Video: Councillor George Carlson (3:53 min)

(Click here to go directly to the clip on YouTube)

IN HIS OWN WORDS

COUNCILLOR NANDO IANNICCA (Acting Mayor):

And if you don’t mind, as Chair, I would like to speak if someone would so move.

[Someone does]

COUNCILLOR NANDO IANNICCA (Acting Mayor):

Thank you, I—

MISSISSAUGAWATCH into camera:

Here he goes.

COUNCILLOR NANDO IANNICCA (Acting Mayor):

—have an obligation to my consitituents and I’ll be very very brief but I think Councillor Carmen (Corbasson) hit on the fundamental point that we’re all grappling with. This is not a fun day for us. This is a heart-wrenching decision.

The reason that I was one of the proponents of the Inquiry —the reason I stand by it emphatically needs all of ten seconds to explain.

Number One, I don’t have a crystal ball. I don’t know where this is going.

I do know that minutes have been altered —there some other things have gone on that I cannot explain to my taxpayers and I owe them an explanation.

Point Number Two, the Lady of Justice is blind for a reason. It matters not who she judges over —whether that’s your Mayor, whether that’s my brother, whether that’s the local parish priest. And I have to hold that close to my thoughts as well.

I also have a concern to be brutally candid with you of my understanding of some of the conduct that has been outlined —because, to be brutally candid with you, I would have grave concerns if I lived in a city where a Mayor and [inaudible] members of Council conducted their affairs in a somewhat similar manner.

It is not a city that I would want to live in. I’ve never conducted my affairs in that manner.

I’m shocked that anyone in the audience or anyone in this city would put the cost of such an exercise ahead of having to ensure you have Integrity and Accountability in your political system.

[Jeers and protests from the audience]

COUNCILLOR NANDO IANNICCA (Acting Mayor):

I beg your pardon.

And so to conclude, at the end of the day, I was not elected for my love of the Mayor. I was elected to do the right thing.

This, as difficult as it is on an emotional level —I want you to hear from me directly, from many of you that I’ve known for a long time, on an ethical, moral, and the-right-thing level, this is one of the easiest decisions that I’ve ever had to make though I’ve never regretted a decision more.

With that I now turn to the motions before me, I need the assistance of the Clerk to make sure…

Video: Councillor George Carlson (2:23 min)

(Click here to go directly to the clip on YouTube)

MISSISSAUGA CONFLICT OF INTEREST JUDICIAL INQUIRY RECORDED VOTE, October 28, 2009

Again, Councillor Parrish’s comments are on-deck and for historical reasons, transcripts and video of the Councillors who opposed the judicial inquiry will also be recorded here for posterity.

Signed,

The Mississauga Muse

LINKS TO PREVIOUS BLOGS of the October 28, 2009 CONFLICT OF INTEREST/JUDICIAL INQUIRY meeting

MISSISSAUGA JUDICIAL INQUIRY VIDEO VIGNETTE: Councillor Carmen Corbasson, “This isn’t about Mayor Hazel McCallion. This is about Governance, how do we improve it. Not only for this municipality, but across the Province. And I don’t know what price tag you put on that”

MISSISSAUGA JUDICIAL INQUIRY VIDEO VIGNETTE: Councillor Frank Dale, “I make this decision because I truly believe it’s the right thing to do.” November 4, 2009

MISSISSAUGA JUDICIAL INQUIRY VIDEO VIGNETTE: Councillor George Carlson, “I would think, to be honest with you, Carolyn Parrish has lost 20 points in leading this thing because this is not helping her for Mayor at all. November 4th, 2009

MISSISSAUGA JUDICIAL INQUIRY VIDEO VIGNETTE: Councillor Nando Iannicca, “I would have grave concerns if I lived in a city where a Mayor and [inaudible] members of Council conducted their affairs in a somewhat similar manner. It is not a city that I would want to live in.”

Best quotes for people to Get It.

“This isn’t about Mayor Hazel McCallion. This is about Governance, how do we improve it. Not only for this municipality, but across the Province. And I don’t know what price tag you put on that. Is it ten thousand? Is it one million? Is it ten million? I don’t know.”

—Mississauga Councillor Carmen Corbasson regarding the judicial review, October 28, 2009

I want to be clear though that the decision I make, the decision then—the decision I make today is for no one’s political gain. (Jeer from audience) I make this decision because I truly believe it’s the right thing to do.

—Mississauga Councillor Frank Dale regarding the judicial review, October 28, 2009

I would think, to be honest with you, Carolyn Parrish has lost 20 points in leading this thing because this is not helping her for Mayor at all. And she gettin’ a lot of advice that brought this because for sure this is costing her votes if she ever were to run for Mayor. So you may get your wish in that she’ll never be elected Mayor but we still have to sort out these problems and that’s why I’m supporting — It has nothing to do with the Mayor.

—Mississauga Councillor Frank Dale regarding the judicial review, October 28, 2009

And I also have a concern to be brutally candid with you of my understanding of some of the conduct that has been outlined —because, to be brutally candid with you, I would have grave concerns if I lived in a city where a Mayor and [inaudible] members of Council conducted their affairs in a somewhat similar matter. It is not a city that I would want to live in.

—Mississauga Councillor Nando Iannicca regarding the judicial review, October 28, 2009

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